I remember reading that Charles Haddon Spurgeon used to receive a greeting from an Anglican bishop each New Year giving him a text to preach on at the beginning of the year. I’ve wondered if it might have been none other than Bishop J.C.Ryle since they held each other in mutual high regard (see C.H. Spurgeon, Volume Two, The Full Harvest pp26,27,340, Banner of Truth). Reading that prompted me to give myself a ‘Life Text’ at the beginning of each year as a kind of theme for the year – and a challenge as I review my sins and shortcomings.

2021 has been a challenging year for us all on account of COVID 19, so I’ve been tossing up what would be my ‘Life Verse’ for 2022.

            Will it be: ‘Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,

            though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,

            though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

            yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

            The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

            he enables me to tread on the heights.’ (Habakkuk 4.17-19)

Habakkuk certainly lived in testing and trying times for the believer, as we do today

            Or will it be: ‘The Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.’ (Isaiah 11.9b)

            This is one of the texts which informs the postmillennial view of Scripture, the view which seems to me to do best justice to the Sovereignty of God.

            Or will it be: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’ (1 Thessalonians 5.9)

            Well, I’m going for option 3 in the light of options 1 and 2, because in the current circumstances confronting Christians today we need to be encouraged to look to the Lord in His plan, purpose and power and find His strengthening and sustaining grace; moreover we need to hold on to the ‘exceeding great and precious promise’ enshrined in option 2 against all the external evidence; and, dear brothers and sisters, there are simply not enough Barnabi in the church today.

            So, my Life Verse for 2022 is this: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’

            … and let me encourage you to be an encourager too.

            May the Lord Himself bless, encourage and keep you in 2022.

                                                                                                                        – Bob Thomas